Chapter 1: Major Accomplishments in
1996 and 1997
Teens, Crime, and the Community
At a national youth conference in Miami in 1996, young people in attendance indicated they would like to have a voice in Federal juvenile justice policy. OJJDP and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), which sponsored the conference as part of its OJJDP-funded Teens, Crime, and the Community Program, responded by establishing the National Youth Network (NYN). NCPC and a number of sponsoring organizations brought more than two dozen youth to Baltimore, MD, in 1997 for a planning meeting and leadership training, followed by a retreat in Columbia, SC.
Since then, NYN has evolved into an active youth-led organization. It is primarily self-governing but receives assistance from OJJDP; the Teens, Crime, and the Community Program; and approximately 20 sponsoring organizations. The group consists of 40 youth representing 20 youth-serving organizations. The mission of NYN, as defined by the youth themselves, is to serve as a catalyst for youth across the country to prevent crime and victimization and to make a difference in their communities by collaborating among youth-focused national, State, and community-based organizations; distributing information on successful programs and strategies; advocating youth perspectives to policymakers; promoting the need for positive youth activities through the media; and reaching out to nonaffiliated youth, especially those in the juvenile justice system.
NYN has established five committees that address the areas of public relations, publications, public policy, events, and sponsors/outreach. Each committee meets monthly via conference call and has established benchmarks to be achieved in 1998. Goals include developing bylaws, producing a Youth in Action publication series, establishing a Web site as part of an upcoming Department of Justice "Kidspage," sponsoring two retreats; and participating in OJJDP's 1998 National Conference. A youth leadership council oversees all NYN plans and activities.